Thursday, February 2, 2017

High On the (Ground) Hog

Trumphog Day

In addition to the lame annual weather forecasting associated with Groundhog Day, thanks to the 1993 Groundhog Day movie we also associate the term with the notion of an endless time loop.

Asshat Donald Trump has only
been president for two weeks, but
it is already clear that his presidency is going to be a Groundhog Day-like repeating loop.

The pattern will be as follows: Trump will do something that is actually praiseworthy, then less than 24 hours later will do something so bizarre that it crowds out major media coverage of the praiseworthy thing.

The most recent iteration of the loop began Tuesday evening with Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, a genuinely good thing for the country. Rather than step back and let the praise for this nomination from both sides of the aisle sink into the public consciousness, less than 24 hours later the mostly positive coverage of Gorsuch was swamped by a tsunami of Trump idiocies involving phone calls to the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Australia, the latter of which ending in shouting and a hang-up by Trump.

And this morning, Trump decided that the annual National Prayer Breakfast was the perfect place to mock the guy who took his place on his stupid TV show for getting low ratings. Unbelievable.

"Honest to God, is that guy nuts or something?"

There are those who think so, yes, but in any event this is what happens when you
make a preening narcissist with deep-seated insecurities into the most powerful man
in the world...


The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Rembrandt van Rijn

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which relates to Jesus being taken to temple for a Jewish ceremony known as pidyon haben.

This ceremony is recounted in Luke 2:22-40, and the Christian holiday known as Candlemas goes back at least as far as the 4th century.

Fun With Marmots

Punxsutawney Phil and friend this morning
On February 2, 1887 the first official Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania took place, and 
has been an annual tradition there ever since.

It might not be the only such celebration in the United States, but it is without question the most famous, drawing media coverage from coast to coast.

It is also the silliest, with adults dressing up in formal wear just to hold up a Marmota monax 
for a few moments while folks take pictures.

"Where's your sense of dignity, man? Bite that guy!"

A lot of people only watch these kinds of ceremonies hoping to see some sort of marmot calamity...which does occasionally happen...

Curmudgeon Groundhog Day

From the indispensable comic strip Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, which you should read every day, as I do (even though Wiley is a squishy liberal).

Until Next Time...

Last night was another one of those instances where a TV show used a song I hadn't heard in awhile, and did so with considerable dramatic effect.

The USA Network series Suits just resumed it's sixth season last week. Last night's new episode, "The Painting," used singer-songwriter Lee DeWyze's haunting "Blackbird Song" as a recurring musical motif throughout the episode. I cried while watching the show, more than once, and this music was one reason for that reaction.

The first time I heard the song
was on one of my favorite episodes of The Walking Dead, the AMC channel's wildly popular zombie apocalypse drama. "Alone" opens with DeWyze's song, and the song's lyrics fit the episode's plot perfectly.

So far as I am aware the song is not on any of DeWyze's albums, but it was among the songs included on The Walking Dead: AMC Original Soundtrack, Volume 2 back in 2014. It is now Lee's signature song and
a staple of his live performances.

Today's send-off is the original version which appeared on the soundtrack album, from Lee's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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